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Biden and the GCC: A New Start, or More of the Same?


The Biden White House and his allies in the Senate have called for a realignment in its engagement with the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Gulf region. Rather than a transactional relationship centered around oil, weapons sales, and the containment of Iran, themes of human rights, diplomacy, and reducing regional tension have been offered as new priorities of this administration.

Qatar and Oman, for example, have sought to translate their relations with Iran into positive steps toward reopening the dialogue between Washington and Tehran about the JCPOA and other topics concerning the region. Meanwhile U.S.-UAE relations are strained as Biden has halted the F35 sales to Abu Dhabi. Yet the main juncture is in the U.S.-Saudi relations which experience a redefining with Biden centering it around human rights issues and pushing Riyadh to end the war in Yemen through halting offensive weapons sales but keeping the U.S. commitment to defend Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty against missiles and drones’ attacks launched toward the kingdom by Iran-aligned Yemen’s Houthis.

What are the pillars for Biden’s policy in the Gulf with Washington’s Arab partners in the Gulf? How fruitful can the US-GCC partnership be in accomplishing not just what appeases American interests, but also advances regional prosperity? And what does the future of weapon and oil sales look like in a world where the mightiest superpower no longer upholds financial interests above all others?

Featured Speakers: Ambassador Patrick Theros (moderator), Ambassador Susan L. Ziadeh, Dr. Steven Cook, Dr. Hesham Alghannam, and Dr. Dania Thafer.

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